Tom's favorite thing to do is to watch his brother. He is not allowed to say this in interviews, of course, because then David starts twitching and the T-word is flung around more often for a while and Bill gets that quiet look in his eyes, like clouds waiting to drown the world, and it makes Tom miserable.
Watching Bill is better than anything else Tom has ever seen.
Bill is his own world and even being half of Bill's soul only ever gets him in so far. His brother reminds Tom of a Christmas ornament he saw once while on tour in America. It was obsidian and silver and cut glass hung together in a way that flashed and hid all at once.
It had layers to it, and as it turned it revealed little images in it: snowflakes and stars and little babies in wooden troughs.
When Bill turns most people only see the silver bright flash of a brilliant mind. They see thoughts that dart humming bird fast and lightning blinding to reach out and touch one of the poor mortals before him. Bill smiles bright as hope but tastes of ashes and Tom remembers that there are pieces of jagged glass, of broken Bill draped among the flashing lights.
Tonight Bill is dancing around on stage, adored and consumed, lights reflecting and revealing but never touching, not really. Cameras flash and fans scream and Bill twirls and gives them pretty little pictures.
Bill has always liked having his picture taken, and he has a mask for each mood they want him in too: The Rock Star and the Virgin, the Devoted Bother and the Egoist, the Seduced and the Seducer, the Prey and the Monster under the Bed, the Sinner and the Sin. Bill wears them all so well that even Tom can forget at times that there is something deeper.
Tom floats back and the world is still far away but the bright shining nebula that is his brother is beside him, pulling him in. Bill sings only for Tom and Tom plays only for Bill. The fans don't know this. David doesn't either. Both boys have always maintained that the band comes first. After all, what was one lie among many? For all they care they could still be sitting together on Tom's bed after school. The fame, the money, for Tom, everything is second to Bill.
It is because Tom is always, always watching Bill that he sees the patterns in the way the lights reflect off of his brother, the things Bill tries to hide. On stage, in front of hundreds of thousands of fans and tens of hundreds of cameras Bill remains hidden.
Until another girl has tossed her thong onstage, a note pinned to the crotch and anger sparks in Bill, quick and transient and barely hinting at the depth beneath it.
Seconds later he is smiling and flitting around stage, launching into one of their happier songs, to return minuets later with the opening course of Rette Mich. Bill always loved to play dirty.
The concert flies by and Tom is watching Bill at his vanity, removing, layer by layer paint and lies until all that is left is Bill.
Bill doesn't know Tom watches him now, too consumed with every imagined line and mark that is revealed before him, every flaw that only his brother can see.
When the clouds in Bill send light flashing through his eyes that reminds Tom of That Time, of the glass and the screaming and the blood, so much blood, Tom jumps into the storm head long.
"You're like a bird sometimes, you know; one of the ones with the big feathers and the weird colors?"
Bill turns to him at that, face closed off and eyes foreboding. "A parrot, Tom, it's called a parrot. How the fuck did you pass school again?"
Tom winces, tonight is a glass and obsidian night, deep shadows and bright pain and a wiser man would run from that look. Tom has never been considered wise.
"Well, you are. We could get you a little mirror and a ring to sit in so that you could spend all of your time admiring how beautiful you are. I bet we could get that Gucci guy to do it."
The Look has not abated and Bill is stalking closer, masks dropping from him until there is only the predator beneath, ready and willing to rip apart anything it deems a threat, and Tom has just made himself into one.
"You want to put me into a cage, Tomi? Lock me away to be just yours, your pretty little song bird? Your beautiful, docile pet?"
Acid drips from each word and crawls across Tom's mind, and shadows shift in his brother as memories surface of business meetings with old pedophiles and pretty little boys, of dark corners and whispered promises.
"Never a cage, Billa. Just a bench in the sun and a piece of glass to remind you of what you are."
"And what am I Tomi?"
Many things, many, many things all of them contradicting and merging until beginnings and endings are lost in Right Nows and memories ride beside dreams to the place where nightmares live and die. Bill is Darkness and Light, Pain and Ecstasy, Innocence and Sin, Forgiveness and Damnation. He is every saint and every devil Tom has ever heard of. He is…
"Bill. You're my Bill."
His smile is back and he is skipping around again, the ornament has turned and shows a child once more.
Carefree and happy and grinning in a way that Tom has only every seen on clowns or horror movie psychos. (And despite some of the outfits Tom has seen his brother in; he is not stupid enough to think that Bill is a clown).
Bill is a million bright shards of insanity wrapped in dreams and spider webs. The Prince that grew tired of being locked in the tower and found his own way out, if not down. Bill is empty rooms filled with secrets that swirl and dance in the light of camera flashes and street lights shinning into hotel windows to the sounds of moans and screams that shouldn't be given breath.
A light touch around Tom's neck, as if Bill isn't sure of a welcome now. "I'm going to bed. Coming?"
There is desperation there, and a quiet despair. He fears that one day Tom's answer will be different then the thousands of times before that he has asked. The have Always been Tom and Bill and if Tom knows one thing about his brother it is that Bill will not be the one to end this thing between them.
Most people think that Bill is ditzy, is easily distracted and controlled. Most think that Tom is the one in control. Tom knows though, that he could never walk away. Not even when Bill pushes him down and fucks him bloody and raw, claws leaving deep ridges in toned flesh to be blamed on some nameless groupie later.
Because at his worst Bill is still Bill, still his brother, and there has always been Bill and Tom and when everything is over and all is dust and ashes, burned down by the light that will consume the both of them and crushed beneath the secrets they sow like a row of headstones in time, there will always just be Bill and Tom.